Ask Me a Question

If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Criminal Sentence 567: Those "That" Clauses Are Causing Trouble

From an online Q&A with an agent:

"What's something you've sold that comes out soon that you're excited about?"

This sentence piles on the "that" clauses: two are easy to see but one is hiding.

The obvious ones are "that comes out soon" and "that you're excited about." The hidden one is "you've sold" (just add an imaginary "that" before it: "...something that you've sold...").

You can't have three clauses modifying one noun/pronoun, "something" in this case.

It's an awkward mouthful, so let's rewrite it:

"Which of your recent sales comes out soon and makes you excited about its debut?"

This isn't perfect so if anyone wants to try, please go ahead!

No comments: